By Harry Derderian
NASHUA, N.H. — While many of us were watching the likes of mega medal winners Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt in Rio ‘16, journalist Tom Vartabedian was in a battle for a medal in the New Hampshire State senior singles’ tourney.
Despite being inactive since February due to treatment for cancer, Vartabedian won his first two singles matches and then lost in the finals to national champion Mitch Milewski of Nashua, earning a silver medal.
In so doing, as a finalist, he earned a berth in the national finals in Alabama.
“ I think I’ll pass on that (Alabama)…”, the long time New Hampshire senior racquetball standout stated with a tired smile.
“Finishing second to the national champ is satisfying …Mitch is an outstanding competitor…,” he added.
Later, as part of the overall competition, he and a long time friend won two doubles matches to round out a weekend of spirited competition among New Hampshire’s top racquetball players.
All matches were played on the same day.
He added with a dose of pride, “…my legs were like spaghetti.”
In a decade of tourney participation in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Tom has won 16 gold medals, now four silver and 1 bronze in senior singles and doubles racquetball competition.
He has played the sport for some 40 years and constantly seeks out younger players to test his skills and competitive fire.
Tom attributes his success to an exercise regimen of playing against younger men and a good dose of mountain climbing.